Open Letter to the Community from the Staff of Sapulpa Schools
This evening, the Board of Education is voting on whether or not to continue allowing teachers to protest. Here’s what the teachers say.
Dear Sapulpa School Board and Chieftain Community
Sapulpa faculty, staff, and the district as a collective have had the opportunity this week to lead the charge in restoring funding to our Oklahoma schools. We do not take this responsibility lightly. There was serious debate and much prayerful consideration involved in the decision to force schools to close in an effort to achieve the funding we need to educate children. In order to achieve critical school funding and support our colleagues around the state in this educational crisis, the faculty and staff of Sapulpa Public schools believed school must close. Our various roles at Sapulpa require tremendous amounts of time and dedication. It is out of this dedication and love that we feel compelled to fight for funding. Our research concluded that the raises, while permanent, were only funded for a year leaving districts to make unreasonable budget cuts. The Governor had yet to sign into law support staff raises, and even recent cuts to education weren’t restored. Legislators did not understand we were fighting for our district as much as ourselves. We had no choice but to take our concerns directly to the legislature in Oklahoma City.
We believe that Sapulpa faculty and staff in conjunction with Oklahoma teachers have made significant progress at the State Capitol this week.
Accomplishments Before April 2
- HB1010XX The Teacher Pay Raise Bill
- HB 3705 The funding for HB 1010XX (including the 5% GPT, the tobacco and gas tax)
Accomplishments After April 2
- We established lines of communication with not only Sapulpa legislators, but legislators across the state. Sapulpa teachers met both in large groups on the Capitol lawn, in smaller groups, and privately with legislators to discuss the funding issues that are important to Sapulpa.
- We have educated the general public and Sapulpa to the extreme funding problem in Oklahoma schools.
- We helped push the Senate to approve HB3375, the Ball and Dice Bill.
- We helped stop a last minute on the floor attempt to gut HB3375, the Ball and Dice Bill.
- We helped push the House to approve HB 1019XX, the Amazon 3rd Party Vendor Bill.
- We helped push the Senate to approve HB 1019XX, the Amazon 3rd Party Vendor Bill.
- We helped attach an amendment on HB 1019XX, the Amazon 3rd Party Vendor Bill, to earmark $20 mil in funding for education and help offset the tobacco and gas revenue that reverts to Health and Human Services and the Transportation department.
- We helped push Governor Fallin to sign HB 1026XX, The Support Employee Pay Raise Bill.
- We helped push Governor Fallin to sign HB 1024XX, the State Employees Pay Raise Bill.
We are incredibly proud and humbled that we have had a part in turning the tide of educational history in Oklahoma. We believe that the accomplishments of this week are significant steps to funding Oklahoma education in a manner that values the tremendous importance our children play in society; however, there are still significant pieces missing. Sapulpa teachers and staff believe that more work needs to be done this week to make sure our accomplishments are not erased and the remainder of our goals are accomplished. We believe that this week is instrumental in our struggle to fund Oklahoma schools. Sapulpa Schools’ presence at the Capitol this week is an important step to this success. We strongly believe that to reinstate school without this success would put our progress in jeopardy.
Goals Yet to Be Accomplished
- Defeating the School Bond Bill
- Defeating or amending SB 1015, The School Health Care Bill
- Governor Fallin’s signature on HB,1019XX the Amazon 3rd Party Vendor Bill.
- Governor Fallin’s signature on HB3375, the Ball and Dice Bill.
- Defeating State question proposal to bring all tax revenue raises to a vote of the people.
- Discussing Capital Gains tax and adding the agriculture exemption.
- Discussing the wind tax with legislators
- Amending the Hotel/ Motel tax to include a percentage instead of a flat $5 to not unfairly target lower income families.
The staff and faculty of Sapulpa Schools respectfully request that you continue to support our efforts. Sapulpa has been a leader in Oklahoma education, and as that leader, we have been able to meet with legislators and offer support to smaller, less forward thinking districts. We are proud of our district’s support of this faculty and staff led movement. We are committed to this important fight for funding. We have watched our colleagues around the state battling their own district leadership for their cooperation in this fight for educational funding. We have watched teachers forced to continue without district leadership. This unfortunate conflict is happening all over the state, and it is weakening our public schools. We are proud that is not the case in Sapulpa and hope to have your continued support.
Thank you for your consideration
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